Editor’s Note: Hazel McCallion celebrated her 100th birthday on February 14, 2021. A Valentine’s Day birthday seems fitting because what’s not to love about this barrier breaker?
Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s a life philosophy Hazel McCallion seems to be living herself, and, in the process, showing the rest of us what’s possible in life.
Less than three months after serving her 12th term as mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada’s sixth largest city, “Hurricane Hazel” has taken on a new role at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus. The 94-year-old has been named special advisor to Professor Deep Saini, the university’s vice president and principal of U of T Mississauga, the university announced this week.
It’s a role that’s more than just an honorary title. The university says McCallion will advise Saini on matters relating to the strategic development of the university and lend her impressive expertise to creating new courses, working with UTM’s Institute for Management and Innovation to develop a new master’s degree in urban innovation and development, and she will contribute to a new non-credit training course for those aspiring to enter public service. As if that wasn’t enough, McCallion will also appear as a guest lecturer.
For 36 years, McCallion, a former professional hockey player, led the city of Mississauga and earned a reputation as a no-nonsense, honest to a fault, old-school leader. She refused to play “politics” and is famous for keeping a pair of skates in her trunk in the case the opportunity to play hockey ever arises.
We salute not only McCallion for maintaining a passion for making a difference, we also applaud the University of Toronto for recognizing the opportunity to tap into the intelligence of this national treasure.
“It came out of the blue,” McCallion told the Toronto Star. ““I’m looking forward to doing whatever I can, because for Canada to remain competitive in global competition, we have to work hard to prepare our young people to take their position, and brain power is going to be the success of our country in the future.”
McCallion was a guest on the Growing Bolder Radio Show while she was serving her 11th term in office. Take a listen to the interview below and we know you’ll be just as impressed as we were with this sharp, fearless leader. She’s living proof that relevance, drive, intelligence and wit do not diminish as we age.
Congratulations on your new job, Mayor McCallion!